Berlin | Germany : A Quick Guide to Planning Your Adventure

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Prater Garten, Berlin’s oldest biergarten – Berlin, Germany

Don’t miss it

Participate in SANDEMANs New Europe’s Free Walking Tour. This three-hour tour is heavily focused on the World War II and post-WWII communist eras of German history. It’s an efficient way to visit the major historical sites, such as Brandenburg Gate, Hitler’s Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Berlin Wall.

The tour begins at Brandenburg Gate, which is also near the Reichstag Building, the meeting place of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag. Due to high security screening, the tour does not enter the building, but I do recommend visiting the Reichstag dome on your own. Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved online in advance. The dome’s architecture is interesting, the self-guided audio tour is informative and the 360-degree views of the city are spectacular [especially around sunset].

Pretty cool

Wander along the East Side Gallery, which is a section of the Berlin Wall that has been transformed into a nearly mile-long art gallery. It is located in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, an artistic neighborhood filled with restaurants, bars and boutiques. This area is known for having superb brunch spots as well.

Must try food/drink

Käsespätzle [mac and cheese topped with fried onions], schnitzel [fried veal], bratwurst and radler [beer mixed with lemonade] are just a few German staples.

Grab a bratwurst and beer at Prater Garten, Berlin’s oldest biergarten. Then, have a more formal meal at Schwarzwaldstuben, an authentic German restaurant in the city center. Afterward, walk down the street to Weinerei, which becomes a “pay-what-you-can” wine bar after 8PM [20:00 hour].

Here’s a hint

Dress appropriately for the weather, as most restaurants/cafes/hostels do not have air conditioning. Open windows don’t do much when it is nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit [37 degrees Celsius] in August.

The trains/subways/trams are efficient, inexpensive, easy to use, and frequent. Use them!

Wish I had more time for

Six nights in Berlin was the perfect amount of time. It allowed for day trips to Dresden, a city about 2 1/2 hours south of Berlin that was completely rebuilt following severe bombing in World War II, and Oranienburg, a town about 30 minutes north of Berlin where the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is located. I highly recommend a visit to the former concentration camp, which has been turned into a memorial and museum.

Accommodation

A six night stay at St Christopher’s Hostel. This hostel-chain provides hotel-like services with budget-friendly prices. I’ve now stayed with them in Berlin, London and Barcelona, and there are a dozen more locations throughout Europe.

Next stop

A scenic four-hour train to Prague, Czech Republic.

Additional resources for planning your adventure

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[ East Side Gallery – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ East Side Gallery – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ East Side Gallery – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ East Side Gallery – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ East Side Gallery – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ East Side Gallery – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg neighborhood – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Plaque dividing the former East Berlin and former West Berlin – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Standing in both the former East Berlin and former West Berlin. Plaques, such as this one, are grounded throughout the city as a reminder of where the Berlin Wall once stood. – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Berlin Wall – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Berlin Wall – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Gendarmenmarkt, a square that includes three significant building. From left to right is the Deutsche Dom (German Church), the Konzerthaus (concert hall) and the Franzosischer Dom (French church). – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Berliner Dom, the largest church in the city – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ A mural depicting communist propaganda. It portrays what the communist wanted others to believe: that life in East Germany was lively and thriving. – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ On the rooftop of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Rooftop views from the Reichstag – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Inside the Reichstag dome – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Inside the Reichstag dome – Berlin, Germany ]
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[ Dresden, Germany ]
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[ The Dresden Frauenkirche, a church that was heavily bombed and thus destroyed in World War II. Following the war, the community came together and raised the funds needed to completely rebuilt it. The beautiful, porcelain alter was even restored to look like the original. – Dresden, Germany ]
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[ Dresden Frauenkirche – Dresden, Germany ]
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[ Dresden, Germany ]
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[ Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – Oranienburg, Germany ]
Do you have other suggestions for Berlin, Dresden or Oranienburg? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ready to plan your adventure? Here are a few more posts to help you get started.

Next Up: Follow the adventure to Prague, The Czech Republic.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Mel & Suan says:

    Beautiful journey you had. Ours unfortunately was a rather short one of just two days as we made our way to Poznan to explore Poland!

    1. Wow, Poznan looks beautiful! I visited Krakow after Prague, but didn’t make it too far outside of the city, except for a visit to Auschwitz 🙁 Do you have a post on Poznan? I will be adding it to my bucket list!

      1. Mel & Suan says:

        Oh not yet. Still working on our most recent journey!

      2. Looking forward to reading it once it’s posted!

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